Add This Design Journal To Your Reading List

Given how the interest in design thinking and design is spreading across disciplines (and a few design and UX bloggers noted their surprise at finding an article about design thinking in a library journal), being efficient and effective at capturing all this potentially valuable literature is a significant challenge. Subcribing to the feeds of the better design and UX blogs (see our blogroll) is one way to spot those occasional articles. But to be more systematic a well-designed journal alert approach may work best. So if you wanted to set up a journal (ToC) alert to capture the latest articles on design thinking, UX and related topics, how would you go about it? On what disciplines should you focus your efforts? 

Having access to one or more academic aggregator databases from companies such as ProQuest and EBSCO can certainly help. Not only do they cover hundreds of potential journals in which this literature might appear, but these databases offer two useful alerting systems. First, it’s easy to set up alerts to capture the table of contents (ToC) of those journals with a reputation for publishing articles in the design fields. You might know a few, but how do you discover others? That’s where the second method comes in. The databases also allow the creation of search alerts. I have constructed several search alerts for terms such as “design thinking”, “user experience” and “design strategy”. Whenver articles with these phrases are added to these databases I receive an alert in my e-mail inbox. Once I begin to see a journal that frequently publishes articles about these topics, I create a ToC alert for that specific title. What about Google alerts or RSS feeds for searches created in Yahoo and other engines? They might work also, but it’s likely that the number of irrelevant web sites retrieved from the alerts may make it a less than effective strategy.

As a result of months of screening the major library databases with these search phrases it’s becoming more apparent that one might see an article about design thinking in almost any discipline. However, I’ve noticed one journal in particular that has established itself as one of my must reads. If your library subscribes to the ProQuest ABI/Inform database, you can set up a ToC alert for it there. Design Management Review stands out as a journal that regularly provides insightful and thought-provoking readings about all the topics we cover here at DBL. The most recent issue, fall 2007, features several articles on design as a source of innovation and strategy. One of them, “Innovation in Organizations in Crisis” (Cherkasky and Slobin) has an excellent definition of innovation: finding new ways of creating value and bringing them to life. Simple and elegant. What if you don’t have access to ABI/Inform? The publishers of DMR do provide a listing of the articles in the latest issue on their web site. If you want to be alerted to the latest articles in each new issue, try using a web page change detection service (some are free) to monitor the page. Whenever the DMR article listing page is updated you’ll be notified by e-mail.

I will continue to highlight any publications I come across that are particularly valuable for keeping up with the latest literature and ideas in the fields of design thinking, UX and others of interest to DBL readers. If you have a particular favorite, please share it by way of leaving a comment.

Author: StevenB

Steven Bell is currently Associate University Librarian for Research and Instructional Services at Temple University, and was previously Director of the Library at Philadelphia University. Steven is the author of two regular columns published by Library Journal, From the Bell Tower and Leading From the Library. With John Shank he is co-founder of the Blended Librarians Online Learning Community. Bell and Shank are also authors of the book Academic Librarianship by Design. Bell's latest book is Crucible Moments: Inspiring Library Leadership. More information is found at his website.

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